For many medical practices, referrals are paramount for driving new business. This portion of the business can be grown through marketing. Referrals can be difficult to obtain at times, but with the right connections and correct steps, your practice may benefit from referrals more often. Here's how to increase referrals at your practice. 

Connect with and thank referral sources
Referral sources are extremely valuable, so you'll want to make sure they're appreciated. Consider sending handwritten thank you cards or giving these organizations a call to express your gratitude. At the very least, send out a thank you email. If you have a source that is consistently referring patients to your practice, consider getting them a holiday gift or offer to pay for their admission to a medical conference. The more you thank and connect with the people and organizations referring patients to the practice, the better chance you'll have of receiving more referrals in the future.  

Find time for new patients
It doesn't help to get referrals if you can't accommodate these patients. When patients are referred to your practice, try to see them fairly quickly. If you don't make accommodations for them in a timely manner they may go someplace else. Failure to admit and see patients when they need care can affect future referrals. The referral source may decide to recommend some other practice if referred patients have trouble getting an appointment when they need it. 

Accept more forms of insurance
Offering more insurance and payment options is another excellent way to receive more referrals. Referred patients aren't going to come to your practice if your practice's medical billing network doesn't accept their coverage. Discussing insurance with trusted referral sources can help identify what plans you should accept.

Don't steal patients
When another physician sends a patient to your office, it might be tempting to try to keep that patient. But if you do, you're probably not going to get a patient referral from that colleague again. For this reason, you need to make sure patients are still seeing their primary care physician. Recommend a follow up check-in with their doctor upon completion of the patient's care. This will ensure that the referring physician understands you're not trying to steal patients. 

Add a referral section to your website
While adding a referral page to your website isn't quite as important as the tips listed above, Paramount MD suggests it is one of the best ways to improve a practice's referral rate. A referral page on your website can provide all necessary information to all interested parties. It establishes trust and shows that your practice regularly caters to referred patients.The page should have contact information for referred patients so they can set up their appointment and give them information they need about the practice and its location. 

Hire a physician liaison
A physician liaison is someone who is hired specifically to get your practice more referrals. They help you build relationships with other physicians and practices in hopes that they will refer their patients to you. According to WhiteCoat Designs, a physician liaison will also work to keep your current referral relationships strong.